Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai In Mingora

Adjust Comment Print

Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai returned to her hometown in Pakistan on Saturday for the first time since she was shot by the Taliban in 2012, according to security sources.

Yousafzai's journey to becoming the youngest ever Nobel victor began with the local branch of the hardline Taliban movement taking over her hometown in Swat, about 250 km (160 miles) from the capital, Islamabad, in 2007, when she was 9 years old. Malala on her return to Pakistan said, "I still cannot believe that this is happening in reality, I have seen this dream in the last five years that I can keep my foot in my country".

Security was tight around her former home, now rented by a family friend, Mr Farid-ul-Haq Haqqani, who has kept Ms Yousafzai's room intact with her books, school trophies and luggage. Then aged 15, she was targeted by Taliban militants who boarded her school bus and demanded "Who is Malala?" before opening fire.

Malala was transported to Swat in a helicopter which landed in Circuit House from where she went straight to the Khapal Kor Foundation.

EurAsian Times Editor in Karachi, Syed Shafiq Ul Haq explains, "Many people in Pakistan think high of Malala Yousufzai, but some patriarchal elements in the society have serious reservations with Malala because she talks about women empowerment".

Addressing the participants in the annual prize distribution ceremony of a private college here, he said now the whole world saluted Malala for her courage, dedication, great struggle for girls' education and determination.

"We will have to work very hard to bring them all to school", she vowed. "And that might result in an aggressive violent response from the Talibans, who might target schools and localities with terror attacks again", said a local resident of Shangla district.

In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Kailash Satyarthi for activism on behalf of children's rights.

The Taliban said they had shot her because she had been "promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas".

She visited her old school and a cadet college.

However she has also been met with pockets of intense criticism.

"Malala is not afraid of going to Swat, where the terrorists opened fire on her in 2012 and wounded her". Even though she only spent few days there as Malala could still be vulnerable to extremists threat. I don't want any favour or I don't want everyone to accept me. Islam has taught me the importance of education.

In the interview, she said she was sitting in her classroom when news broke about her Nobel Prize and that she was not aware of it as she was not using her mobile phone at the time.

Severely wounded, Yousafzai was taken by helicopter from one military hospital in Pakistan to another, where doctors placed her in a medically induced coma so an air ambulance could fly her to Great Britain for treatment.